Warriors to the forum

Wow…Cuppy is really stirring up the shit lately.

The first stir is her article that appeared on Virgin Worlds waaay back in April. Take a read here. Now, this was a good article about female gamers. This article came out in April, so it was well on its way to blogger heaven to be archived, however; the discussion exploded yesterday by a poster who had this to say:

It is the game developers and publishers that marketed to males primarily making the female gamer the odd commodity. Now that they realize our money is as green as any other males they are taking notice. About time….

It gets better….

However, once the community discovers a person is female 1 or 2 things will occur. They’ll be absolutely rude and post something similar to, “Show your b**bs or GTFO” or they’ll completely back down from their standard orientation period and immediately treat you with respect that most males have to earn over time and association.

Now, I’m not going to really get into the debate, because Cameron did it for me. I will say this….I really don’t care, and I am absolutely positive most people don’t care, whether you are female, male, black, white, purple or vegetable in a game. Why? Because its a game and in a game the only thing that matters is the gameplay. End of story. If you’re female and you suck at holding a mob’s aggro, then you suck because you’re not good at holding aggro…not because you are a female. Please get over yourself…thanks.

Second, Cuppy countered an article by Wilhelm, which is really summarized by this:

But do you know the real, number one reason that World of Warcraft is the top dog in the MMO market?

It is because Blizzard is a successful software game company with a track record of very good, hugely successful games under their belt.

Following Cuppy’s post are 30 comments and about 21 on Wilhelm’s regarding this subject…so clearly we’ve hit something here. What do I think? Glad you asked, oh disembodied voice in my head. I’m going to have to agree with Wilhelm on this one…at least to an extent and in the context that he put it in.

The past success of Blizzard’s games had a huge impact on the marketing and buzz surrounding WoW before it was released. Just saying “Blizzard is releasing a new game” gives them a printing license for every media outlet on the planet. I’ll talk about it, other bloggers will, podcasters, print and online mags will write about it as well. All the people who mattered at the time thought this was big news due to Blizzard’s reputation alone, and nothing else. So started the WoW marketing momentum and Blizzard barely has to lift a finger. One only has to recall to a couple of weeks ago to get some idea of the measure of media momentum that Blizz can muster when it wants to.

Now, this whole debate needs to be split a bit. The initial announcement of WoW had a huge impact on the GAMING community because, we all knew what it meant…but no one else did. The measure for a successful MMO in North America was around 250K subs at the time of the announcement. Obviously the 8.5 million players came from outside the normal stream of MMO gamers. So, Blizzard’s reputation for high quality games only got them so far. It got them that buzz within the already established community, and up to that point, what Wil says is true…past 2005 however, this is no longer the case because Blizz started drawing from the non-gaming and non-MMO crowd. How’d they do that? Well, everyone has a friend and or family member that plays games and I strongly believe that this is how WoW penetrated a market that no other MMO has ever done before. These people, who either watched someone they knew play it or they played it themselves because of a recommendation, where drawn in by it’s accessibility and fun game play. After that, it just snowballed. These non-gamers then talked to their non-gamer friends about this really fun game they were playing…and then they told their friends, and so on. Add to that, the traditional strategy game players also game on board. I really think these guys where split down the middle…some tried it because of Blizzard’s name, others through recommendation.

So, was Blizzard’s reputation for games carry WoW to it’s success? Yes, initially…after that it was all viral marketing and word of mouth. In 2004, the MMO gaming community was really small and there is no way that it could supply the numbers we see now for WoW. So new external forces were obviously in play when it came to how big this game has gotten.

Will we see this again? No…we won’t. I truly believe we will not see a surge like that for a very, very long time. There will be no WoW killer. WoW will die very slowly by 1000 tiny paper cuts. Like I said before, the only company that can release a game to compete with WoW is Blizzard. The only companies that have the slightest chance of poking Blizz in the eye are Bioware and Bethesda….but I’m reaching even with those two.

Anyway..great discussions out there folks. Keep it up.

D out.

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